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2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Overview
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2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.4

Mercedes-Benz has long been equated with luxurious, expensive cars. The fresh-for-2012 C-Class coupes and sedans, starting in the mid-$30,000 range, represents a more digestible entry point for those seeking the pampering and cachet of a Mercedes without going into (too much) debt to attain it. Now Mercedes has made its entry-level lineup even more tempting with a new base model, the C250, powered by a small, fuel-efficient 4-cylinder. At the other end of the C-Class range is the C63 AMG with a thundering 451-horsepower V-8. What all of these baby Benzes have in common, though, are the quality craftsmanship and driving capability for which Mercedes-Benz vehicles are known.

You'll Like This Car If...

A 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class gives you the prestige, comfort and solid driving dynamics of an old-money German luxury car, but still makes room for new-money needs like paying for that first house or sending the kids to college. The C-Class also boasts excellent resale value when it's time to move on or up.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Remember: While these cars are more attainable in initial price, they are still luxury vehicles, which usually means higher maintenance and total ownership costs down the road. Even at the base C-Class price, you could buy a loaded-to-the-gills Chevrolet Cruze or Honda Civic with thousands to spare, or a very well-equipped Acura TSX or Buick Regal and still have money left over.

What's Significant About This Car?

Mercedes-Benz realizes it's not alone in chasing upwardly mobile car buyers looking for a premium vehicle. The C-Class, and especially the new 4-cylinder C250 sedan and coupe models, represents Mercedes' effort to capture those younger dollars. For 2012, Mercedes has implemented over 2,000 new parts in the C-Class, giving it direct-injection engines, revised front and rear bodywork, and an updated interior.

Driving the C-Class

Driving Impressions Even a base C250 feels like a Mercedes: solid and confident on the road, with creature comforts and technology galore. Except for the AMG performance model, C-Class sedans and...

coupes tend to focus more on a comfortable ride than the sporting one of its longtime rival, the BMW 3 Series. Still, C-Class models, available in rear-drive or all-wheel-drive, feel nimble in corners and provide good acceleration via their smooth 7-speed automatic transmission. Even the C250's 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder puts out over 200 horsepower, but models with that engine need to be in Sport mode to indeed feel that way – otherwise the power is only acceptable for a car of this cost and caliber. Models with the new 3.5-liter V6 are plenty potent even in Comfort mode.

Attention Assist:
This standard feature can detect when a driver is drowsy and alerts him or her via visual and audible warnings. How does it do that? The car uses sensors that "observe driver behavior," based primarily on steering wheel movements.

Fit and Finish:
The cabin of even the least expensive Mercedes-Benz feels comfortable and cozy. Then there is the appreciable tactile feel of every component, from the leather-wrapped steering wheel to the metal buttons and gauges. It literally feels like a quality car.

2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Details
2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class photo Interior

The 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is elegant yet relatively understated inside. A 4.5-inch color display now sits before the driver, encircled within the speedometer, relaying trip, audio and navigation information. Buttons and dials for climate settings are a cinch to locate and use. Even when outfitted with the base M-B Tex vinyl upholstery, the C-Class seats are comfortable and supportive. Rear-seat space is a bit tight in the 5-passenger sedan, and even more cramped in the coupe, which seats four and has a lower roofline that can bump against heads. Like other luxury cars, audio, telephone and navigation are controlled via a console-mounted dial whose functions are viewed on a color-LCD screen in the center dash. The panorama roof that's optional on sedans and standard on coupes does an admirable job of shading, but still lets in quite a bit of light when the sun is directly overhead.

Exterior
2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class photo

While most of the updates for the 2012 C-Class are under the hood, Mercedes has made tweaks to the outer design of its smallest car. The biggest news is the introduction of a curvaceous coupe, a first for the C-Class. Though it has two fewer doors than its sedan siblings, the C-Class coupe is nearly identical in length, width and wheelbase, but lower in height, giving it a more sporty appearance. C-Class Sedans retain their angular look and feature a lighter aluminum hood, revised front and rear bumpers, and redesigned headlights and taillights.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

All C-Class models come with a 7-speed automatic transmission, Attention Assist drowsiness monitor, 11 airbags, power sunroof, rain-sensing wipers, garage door opener, auto-dimming mirrors, dual-zone climate control, 8-way power front seats, 5.8-inch color screen with center controller, and AM/FM/HD Radio with CD player and auxiliary/USB inputs. Coupes add a panorama roof, split-folding rear seats, and paddle shifters for manual gear selection.

Optional Equipment

Comfort, tech and safety options abound in the 2012 C-Class. Among them are an in-vehicle hotspot for Internet connectivity, blind-spot monitor, rear-view camera, push-button start/stop, and a navigation system loaded with useful information such as ATM locations and Zagat Survey restaurant ratings. The high-end audio option is a 12-speaker, 450-watt harman/kardon Logic7 surround-sound system.

Under the Hood

After a several-year absence, Mercedes is again employing a 4-cylinder engine for its base C-Class in the U.S. market, a fuel-efficient 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that makes 201 horsepower. That's just 27 hp shy of the larger, 3.0-liter V6 that powers the C300, and enables the C250 to attain the same 0-60 mph time as the C300: 7.1 seconds. More powerful still is the C350, with a new 3.5-liter V6 that makes 302 horsepower. The voracious C63 AMG boasts a 6.3-liter V8 that makes 451 horsepower – and has fuel-economy numbers that add a one-time $1,700 gas-guzzler tax. All models now use a 7-speed automatic transmission with manual-shift mode (no manual transmission is available).

C250 sedan and coupe:
1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4
201 horsepower @ 5,500 rpm
229 lb-ft of torque @ 2,200-4,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/31 mpg

C300 4Matic sedan:
3.0-liter V6
228 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
221 lb-ft of torque @ 2,700-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg

C350 sedan and coupe:
3.5-liter V6
302 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
273 lb-ft of torque @ 3,500-5,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg

C63 AMG sedan and coupe:
6.3-liter V8
451 horsepower @ 6,500 rpm
443 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 12/19 mpg

Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?

2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.2
Out of 10

Based on 297 Ratings for the 2008 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.4/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    9.3/10
  • Comfort
    9.2/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

excellent car

By on Friday, June 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Cons: "needs more comfortable seats"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"beautiful car that gets noticed. Good price point for buying but wished it retained better value. In 4 years it has lost $20,000 in value. Very good performance, have had no repairs done except maintenance."

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Best Value

By on Saturday, June 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 123,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "great value, feels like a luxury car"

Cons: "Paint on the power window button rubbed off"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Purchased new in 2008. While annual maintenance can be high (oil change, etc), the car was superbly reliable, fun to drive. We test drove all luxury vehicles in similar price range. This was to only one that felt like a luxury brand. My wife totaled the car a couple of days ago. She hit a guard rail head on, peeled back 20 feet of rail and walked away w/o a scratch or bruise. We are going in today to purchase our new 2015 version with all the safety features today."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Third and last C Class

By on Thursday, June 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,693

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Nice styling inside and out"

Cons: "Poorly engineered and not what an MB should be"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"I had a 2008 then 2011 now 2014 C sedan and the engineering quality decline is staggering. The 2011 transmission shifts were noticeable but the 2014 are terrible. Living in CA we encounter a lot of traffic and the car lurches as it shifts or is slow and then hard revs before it kicks in. Dealer says this is normal when the engine is cold which seems like an excuse. The other oddity is it is hard to put gas in the car because of an oddly designed vacuum feature at the filler. You have to contort the gas hose to engage the pump into the filler otherwise the pump kicks off after a few drops of gas go into the tank. It takes forever to fill the tank. Rather than fixing the engineering flaw MB published a diagram how to pump gas. I think they hired the cast off engineers who said not to use a key ring so your car won't shut off on its own! The design of the car is great outside and inside but it is not a great driving car for what it cost. I will look at an Audi or BMW in 2016."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

I really like my C300, solid car with great featur

By on Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 48,900

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Solid car with excellent features - I have the headlight upgrade and these lights that follow the curve and illuminate side lights when turning are great, good power, smooth transmission shifting and great handling."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

All I need

By on Thursday, June 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive, awesome reliability"

Cons: "2016 body style has slight changes!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is the best car I have owned, and is my 4th Mercedes. The Panorama roof makes it a way better option than a convertible. The car is quiet, easy to park, comfortable to drive any distance, and turns many heads. The trunk is spacious, as is the back seat for passengers. I can't think of anything I would like in a car that this vehicle does not have. Get one!"

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

A real jewel. Love the 350 engine in this car.

By on Tuesday, May 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Very fun to drive"

Cons: "No complaints"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I enjoy driving this car, very quick and responsive. The 350 engine is the real key to the C-Class. Great road car."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?